The NBAA’s National Safety Forum has met for its third annual gathering, with conversation focusing on three of the NBAA Safety Committee’s 2017 top focus areas – fitness for duty, airport and ground handling safety, and loss of control in flight.
Taking place on the last day of NBAA-BACE, which was held in Las Vegas, Nevada, on October 10-12, the event aimed to provide information and practical tools designed to enhance the safety of business aviation operations. Interactive conversations between presenters and the audience helped facilitate the exchange of information.
David Ryan, chair of the NBAA Safety Committee, characterized fitness for duty as “our most fundamental issue.” Two moderators of this segment of the forum – Greg Farley of John Deere Aviation and Jeff Wofford of CommScope – and three panellists – Dr Quay Snyder of Aviation Medicine Advisory Service, Daniel Mollicone from Pulsar Informatics and Kent Stauffer of Constant Aviation – noted that fatigue can lead to procedural lapses, increased distractions and errors.
Mental health was discussed as an influencer effecting performance, and there were suggestions that maintenance technicians working long shifts should be evaluated after 10 hours on the job. Farley also introduced NBAA’s new draft Fitness for Duty Policy.
Airport and ground handling incidents – which Ryan called “our most frustrating and expensive issue” – were addressed by several speakers. The importance of conducting airport risk evaluations was noted, alongside details on the National Air Transportation Association’s Safety First program and the need for heightened awareness being the key to any safety procedure.
The need for good high-altitude wake turbulence decision making to avoid loss of control in flight was the final topic covered at the forum. This segment featured a recent case study of the Challenger/Airbus A380 encounter over the Arabian Sea, with panelists discussing the best practices for awareness, prevention and recovery from loss of control during inflight situations.